Australia will nominate outgoing Finance Minister Mathias Cormann for the position of secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Senator Cormann has served as Finance Minister for the past seven years but announced in July that he would retire this year.
The OECD is an international organisation that works to create policies that promote economic growth and look to improve social and environmental challenges faced globally.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday his government’s intention to put the Belgium-born Senator’s name forward to take over the helm of the OECD when the current Secretary-General, Angel Gurria, stands down.
“We believe the OECD needs the sort of leadership that we think Australia and an Australian can provide. And so I am announcing our intention to nominate Mathias Cormann, for the position of secretary-general of the OECD,” he said.
“Mathias’s seven-year experience as our longest-serving Finance Minister, Belgium-born, French-German and Flemish to boot, I think ideally equips him for the challenging role.”
Senator Cormann said it was “a great honour” to be nominated to one of the most “consequential” governing bodies in the world.
“The important of practical cooperation has never been greater whether when dealing with a pandemic, the challenge of climate change, education and skills’ needs, the promising challenges of the digital economy and narrowing differences on taxation policy,” he said.
“These are big challenges and I have accepted this nomination because I believe I can make a real difference.”
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will take over the Finance portfolio when Senator Cormann retires at the end of October.
Senator Birmingham has served in parliament since 2007 and currently holds the trade, tourism and investment portfolio.
Western Australian senator Michaelia Cash will become the new deputy leader of the government in the Senate.
Budget criticism continues
After the announcement the Prime Minister took one question on his government’s budget and the new wage subsidy measure to incentivise businesses to employ people under 35.
At the same time as the press conference, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese gave his party’s Women’s Budget Statement address, saying women have been “left behind” and “forgotten”.
He said the lack of extended support for child care would hurt the economy and he would outline Labor’s position on it in his Budget reply speech on Thursday night.
“Child care is not a welfare issue, it’s an essential service that benefits the child, but particularly benefits the economy and growth and benefits us all, regardless of our gender,” he said.
On Thursday morning, government Ministers Anne Rushton and Karen Andrews defended the measures for women in the budget.
“I think there is a level of misreporting there because … every single measure in the budget is available for women,” Senator Rushton said.
“Women can take advantage of driving on new infrastructure and roads, so to suggest the budget doesn’t focus on women is wrong.”